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Rodrigo Prieto, the former Mexican soccer player who today is a technical assistant in Denmark

  Rodrigo Prieto (Left) with Bravos de Juárez during a Copa MX match against Cruz Azul in 2018 (Photo by: Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images)

Rodrigo Prieto (Left) with Bravos de Juárez during a Copa MX match against Cruz Azul in 2018 (Photo by: Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images)

The story of Rodrigo Prieto It is one that has remained distant from the focus of all Mexicans. The ex-soccer player, by chance of fate, ended up as technical assistant of the Midtjylland of Denmark. Of course, it has been overlooked because it is a league of little interest outside the local, much less in Mexico. In addition to this, most of Rodrigo’s career as a footballer was carried out in the Ascent division and rarely in the highest circuit. Today, he is still attached to the game, but from the bench. His team disputes this season of the Europa League and this week he will face Feyenoord, the team where he plays Santiago Gimenez.

The arrival of “Mariachi” to the Danish bench was by chance. The situation after hanging up his boots in 2020 was going to give him the chance to work outside of the fillings. By mid-2021, the one born in Guadalajara he received an invitation from a friend to go and work with him in his own textile factory in Denmark. Faced with this offer, the former player did not think twice and accepted along with his family. He just arrived in August to Nordic lands, His own friend was the one who sent his CV to Midtjylland and it was the same club that later agreed and summoned Prieto to train the U-15 squad. But after three training sessions, he was directly incorporated into the coaching staff of the first team, headed by Bo Henriksen. Rodrigo’s role is as a forward coach.

In that same season, the team won the Danish League Cup and that gave him direct access to the second qualifying round of the Champions League, but fell in the third round at the hands of Benfica. Despite no longer qualifying for the most important tournament at the club level, they were given access to play the Europe League. The Mexican strategist signed a one-year contract with the option to renew.

“I’ts something new for me. I studied and I have my title as a coach; I can lead in Mexico at the highest level and here. They gave me the opportunity to enter the club and I can continue doing what I like. I try to learn as much as I can”, declared Rodrigo Prieto in an interview for Mediotiempo in 2021.

“I always said that I wanted to stay linked to football, but I never imagined how fast. We arrived here (in Denmark) thinking about something else, about a different rhythm of life, and two weeks later I was fully involved in soccer again, in high competition”, he highlighted.

Rodrigo joins the short list of Mexican coaches who venture to great challenges in distant lands. There is also the story of Bernardo Cueva, who after being Sports Intelligence coordinator at Chivas, decided to test his skills in English soccer with Brentford. Today, he is the first Mexican to be part of a coaching staff in the Premier League. Interestingly, the Brentford is owned by matthew benhamalso owner of Midtjylland.

There is also the little-known trajectory of Benjamín Mora who traced a golden stage as technical director of Malaysian Johor DT. During four years as coach of the first team he won nine titles, including four league championships. And that now he decided to leave the club for personal reasons.

On many occasions, both footballers and coaches have believed in the myth that it is no use going to try your luck in leagues that are not top level in Europe. However, the last mentioned have become a breaking point for Mexican soccer, and coaches in particular.

For me, it is seeking to transcend. I know that the language, the climate, adapting to another culture, another type of culture, is difficult, but you have to take that leap. You have to dare to new challenges”, declared Prieto for ESPN.

His career as a footballer

The strategist today had a very long journey within the Mexican fields. However, despite always staying within several teams, he was never able to get a full leading role in any of them. His position was always as a striker and where he proved to be a regular player.

On his way through the maximum circuit militated with the extinct Monarcas Morelia, Cruz Azul, Puebla and Necaxa. But his best performances were with teams from today. Expansion League: Venados de Mérida, Tijuana, Dorados de Sinaloa, Toros Neza, Delfines del Carmen, Zacatepec and Bravos de Juárez.

Unknown destinations were part of Prieto’s soccer journey. Between 2008 and 2010 he signed up with Carabobo and Caracas FC, both teams in the First Division of Venezuela. And he reached the league title with the Caracas club.

In 513 games he played throughout his career, he scored 156 goals. And his best record was achieved with the Neza team, between 2013 and 2014, where he managed to score 28 goals. In the Ascent League he lifted the trophy five times: Neza (2013), Dorados de Sinaloa (twice in 2015) and Necaxa (twice in 2016).

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